Like everyone else celebrating Thanksgiving, I usually feast on a big turkey dinner, replete with mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, steamed vegetables and pumpkin pie as my dessert. Not this year.
Instead, I'll be dining on crow. Something I'm getting used to stuffing my face with every time I pick Kostya Tszyu to lose a fight.
Will I ever learn?
You see, a few years ago I thought that Zab Judah, he off the electric hand-speed and unbelievable quickness would easily master, the slower, older Tszyu. Well, it just took a single booming right hand to dispel that notion.
Now, fast forward to last weekend and I thought that Sharmba Mitchell, who had actually fought well against Tszyu in their first encounter with a bum left knee, would down 'the Thunder from Down Under'
All the intangibles seemed to favor Mitchell, who was the interim IBF jr. welterweight titlist coming in. Mitchell was riding the crest of an eight fight winning streak, but more importantly, Tszyu had been inactive since his stoppage of Jesse James Leija, which took place waaaaaay back in January of 2003. Since that point, Tszyu has had to pull out of two proposed rematches with Mitchell, while his counterpart had performed five times.
So if you put it all together you had a fighter who hadn't performed in over 22 months, against a guy who had seemingly improved since their first encounter and had stayed active during that time. And, he would have two healthy knees for the second bout. It all added up to a Mitchell victory, right?
Uh, in a word, no.
Instead of Tszyu being the tentative fighter, it was Mitchell who seemed tense and tight from the onset. As the fight unfolded early on, Mitchell did not employ the boxing skills or the lateral movement that he was known for. While Mitchell may have fought well enough to win the opening round, he set the stage for his quick downfall.
As the second round began, Mitchell would stay in Tszyu's cross-hairs and the Australian-based Russian would open up with a series of hard, short, powerful and precise right hands that would stagger, stun and then drop Mitchell.
What was expected to be a close contest was quickly turning into a one-sided blowout. Only Mitchell's heart and toughness allowed him to survive the second stanza but he could only take so much.
In the next round another barrage of power punches would rain down on Mitchell, who had to be rescued by referee Raul Caiz. This time there would be no excuses or alibis. Mitchell, who is still one of the game’s elite 140-pounders, had simply been over-matched and overpowered.
I'll take my crow roasted, thank you, very much.
Tszyu's back, better than ever it seems and he has put every other big name junior welterweight on notice. If you want to be considered the division’s best, you gotta get through this guy.
Floyd Mayweather? Great talent and natural ability, but he's only fought once at 140-pounds and it's fair to say that 'the Pretty Boy' has never faced a puncher quite this fearsome.
Arturo Gatti? He's definitely one of the game's marquee attractions, but that's precisely why the brass at Main Events, which promotes him, wont let Tszyu near him. His handlers have done a masterful job of carefully moving Gatti back into prominence but they'd much rather fight the slick Mayweather in a high-profile pay-per-view event, than the much more dangerous Tszyu for far less money.
Call it business over boxing.
Ricky Hatton? Sorry, but I'll believe that Frank Warren will allow his Manchester cash cow to engage in a real fight when I see it. And based on the way that Tszyu looked against Mitchell, I don't think we'll be seeing Hatton in against Tszyu anytime soon.
Vivian Harris? Harris does hold the WBA belt that was made vacant during Tszyu's hiatus and he does have a pair of impressive wins over Oktay Urkal under his belt. Harris is a big, tall, rangy fighter with a solid right hand.
But the question is, does Harris have the marketability and Q-factor to entice Tszyu into a fight? The answer is probably no as we speak. And that's probably why we wont see this match up anytime soon.
But let's make this clear, until somebody knocks Tszyu off. He is the ruler of this division.
Now, the question is, will I have gravy to go with my crow?